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Glen Rock Man: Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places

Glen Rock Police discover a tangled Web of on-line love Scammers 

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Glen Rock NJ, on Tuesday February 22 at 9:06 AM , a Glen Rock resident contacted police after becoming the victim of an online fraud. Detectives were able to trace one of the fraudulent payments from the victim to a 65-year-old female in Washington state. D/Sgt. James Calaski contacted the female from Washington and determined that she was also a victim of what is called a romance scam. The female had engaged in an online relationship with a male who she believed to be a contractor in Texas flipping houses. This man convinced her to “invest” $13,000 of her own money into these house flips. In addition, he convinced her to receive “investments” from other people and forward these payments to him in the form of crypto currency. These additional payments were more than $18,000. D/Sgt Calaski was able to convince her that she was the victim of a romance scam and assist her in ceasing her involvement and communication with the suspect. With the victim’s assistance, D/Sgt Calaski was able to track the suspect to Africa.

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Further investigation into the female’s bank transactions revealed that there were three other individuals with whom she was involved with multiple transactions. Probable cause was developed that these three other individuals were most likely other romance scam victims who were unknowingly money laundering fraudulent funds for the African scammer. D/Sgt Calaski contacted one elderly male and two middle-aged females.  After speaking with them, it was determined that they were in fact victims of romance scams as well and unaware of their involvement in a money-laundering scheme for the African scammers. All three were cooperative and provided similar stories regarding how they became involved and provided information on the suspect. The elderly male revealed that he had lost more than $12,000 and that he was now being targeted for additional scams. The two females admitted to receiving and sending large amounts of money in addition to their own funds. All three victims were provided instructions on how to cease their involvement in the scam, close the associated accounts and report the incident to their local police departments.

Due to the fact that the Glen Rock Police Department does not have the authority to make arrests in foreign countries, no criminal charges could be filed as a result of this investigation. However, the scammer lost access to four victims that he had spent over 5 months grooming in order to launder money for him. Additionally, the victims involved will not continue to lose funds to the scammer. With the assistance of Glen Rock Detectives, the Glen Rock victim was able to freeze and reverse some of the payments that were sent from his account.

The Glen Rock Police Department would like to remind residents that they should NEVER send funds, wire transfers, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or any other type of monetary device to anyone that they do not personally know. An individual that you have met online but never in person is NOT someone that you personally know, no matter how long your “friendship” has been in effect. Some of these romance scams can be groomed over months and even years before the victims lose their own funds or engage in money-laundering for the scammers. Additionally, even if victims do not send their own money to the scammers, because they are engaging in transferring money from illegal activity, they can be held financially, civilly, and possibly criminally liable for any losses. We urge people to educate themselves about these types of scams and frauds by looking up and learning about the terms “romance scams” and “money mules”. If anyone is a victim of this type of crime or has questions regarding an online transaction that they have engaged in or are thinking of engaging in, please contact the Glen Rock Police Department Detective Bureau. We are here to help you and preventing someone from becoming a victim is always the most desirable course of action.

3 thoughts on “Glen Rock Man: Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places

  1. next time try a webcam
    problem solved

  2. How about go buy a dog and you’ll meet people in the park. If that doesn’t work go to a coffee café,

  3. the new tinder swindler?

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